10 Steps for How To Make a Career Change (With Roles)

Updated 24 August 2023

After working in an industry for a while, you may find that other roles or industries align better with your interests. Many individuals choose to make a career switch for a variety of reasons, such as increasing their salary. Understanding how to transition to a new career successfully can help you begin a career that interests you and uses your skills more effectively. In this article, we discuss career changes, explore common ages when someone may experience this and list some of the best careers to consider in your transition.

Related: How to Change Your Career at Any Age Plus Reasons for a Change

What is a career change?

A career change is when someone transitions to a job different from their current industry or sector. For instance, a secretary may decide to become a nurse. The new role differs from the individual's previous work experience and may require new knowledge or skills. Career switches occur when individuals seek higher satisfaction from their jobs or want to experience a new type of work.

Related: Tips From a Recruiter: How To Stand Out When Changing Careers

10 steps for how to figure out a career change

Here are some steps to take to help you make a change in your career:

1. Consider if a career switch is right for you

First, decide whether to make a career shift or find a new job in your current industry. For example, finding a similar role with a different company may improve your circumstances. However, if you're interested in working in a new industry, a career switch may be right for you.

Related: Tips for Making a Successful Mid-Career Switch to Teaching

2. Identify your passions

If you're considering changing careers, think about what you're passionate about to help you find a career that matches your interests. For instance, if you enjoy caring for your pets, you may want to consider becoming a veterinary technician. Finding a job that aligns with your passions can help you feel more fulfilled. Some ways to do this are taking a self-assessment test or meeting with a career counsellor. Also, consider what you like about your current job and areas you dislike. This can help you learn about your own interests and guide your career change.

Related: The Complete Guide To Changing Careers During COVID-19 (With Tips From a Recruiter)

3. Consider your transferable skills

Next, evaluate what transferable skills you currently have that could help you in your next career. Think about your talents and how they could help you in a different job. Some common transferable skills include:

  • Problem-solving

  • Teamwork

  • Communication

  • Critical thinking

  • Multi-tasking

  • Creativity

  • Organisation

4. Find a problem you want to solve

Another way to find a new career is to consider a problem you want to solve. For example, if you're interested in a role that provides philanthropy to underprivileged children, you may want to find a career working in a non-profit. Consider how you could use your skills to help society.

5. Create a list of careers to explore

Once you understand the type of career you're interested in, create a list of some jobs to consider. Narrow the list down to five to 10 jobs to research more in-depth. This includes looking at the requirements and what the daily job duties are. You may also want to look up companies hiring roles for the jobs you listed.

Related: 9 Possible Jobs for a Mid-Career Switch (Plus Requirements)

6. Talk to those in the field

To get a deeper understanding of what it's like to work in the occupation you are considering, talk with someone who has a similar role. Getting firsthand knowledge from professionals can help you learn more about the role and skills needed. Conduct an informational interview to collect information and answer any questions you may have.

Related: How To Write a Career Change Cover Letter in 7 Steps

7. Update your resume

As you prepare for a new career, update your resume and match it to the industry where you are looking for a position. Modify your skills and education section to reflect those related to the new career. To do this, read the job descriptions for open positions to see what types of skills and experiences employers are requesting. Also, eliminate information unrelated to the desired industry, such as past positions you had, or consider adjusting them to be more closely related to your desired role.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Writing a Career Change Resume

8. Develop a career action plan

Create a career action plan to outline your overall goals. Once you have a vision for your career shift, you can begin outlining the steps it may take to accomplish it. This is where you can include any skills you may acquire or companies you want to consider.

Related: How To Make a Successful Career Switch

9. Pursue additional training

In order to succeed in a second career, you may take classes to acquire certain skills and knowledge in the field. Other training options include pursuing an internship, certification programme or degree. Use the research you completed earlier to see what educational requirements your desired career has.

Related: How to Write a Career Change Functional Resume (Plus Sample)

10. Leave your current career

After finding a job in a new industry, give your current employer at least one month's notice that you plan to leave your job. Prepare a resignation letter that includes your last day. When leaving your current job, maintain positive relationships with your team to help provide you with contacts for future letters of recommendation.

Related: How To Write a Resignation Letter (With Template, Samples and Tips)

What is the average age of someone experiencing a career shift?

The average age for someone to switch careers is between their 30s and 40s. Greater longevity is causing more individuals to experience mid-career shifts to pursue passions and adjust to their life circumstances. During this time in their life, individuals tend to be more financially stable and may feel stagnant in their current field. This is often when an individual has been working with a company for a long time and may notice their interests changing over time.

Read more: How to Make a Career Change at 50 in 7 Simple Steps

What are some reasons someone might make a change in career?

Changing careers is something individuals consider for a variety of reasons. It may be due to external forces or based solely on personal reasons. Here are some reasons someone might consider making a career switch:

  • Job relocation

  • Company closing or laying off employees

  • Work-life improvement and flexibility

  • Pursuit of a passion and better use of skills

  • Interest in a higher salary

  • Desire to help society

What are some of the best jobs for a career shift?

If changing careers is something you're interested in doing, you may want to consider some high-paying, flexible jobs. The following is a list of some of the best jobs for switching your career:

1. Dental assistant

National average salary: $28,645 per year

Primary duties: A dental assistant supports a dentist. They do so by providing patient care during procedures and visits. They take dental X-rays, prepare patients for dental work, educate patients on dental hygiene and record patients' dental history.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Related: 20 Careers of the Future (With Salaries)

2. Patient care technician

National average salary: $28,792 per year

Primary duties: A patient care technician (PCT) helps patients perform daily tasks. Some of their job duties include serving meals, administering IVs, changing bedding, monitoring vital signs and taking blood.

Related: How to Make a Mid-Career Switch to Healthcare in 4 Steps

3. Personal trainer

National average salary: $39,561 per year

Primary duties: A personal trainer guides clients in how to accomplish and maintain a healthy lifestyle. They evaluate a client's needs, demonstrate exercises, monitor the client's progress and make recommendations on how to change lifestyle habits.

4. Massage therapist

National average salary: $42,964 per year

Primary duties: A massage therapist manipulates the client's body tissues to relieve tension and promote relaxation. Their job duties include identifying a client's desired outcomes, providing clients with stretches to do and sterilising equipment.

Read more: How to Become a Massage Therapist (Plus Common Skills)

5. Interior designer

National average salary: $48,056 per year

Primary duties: An interior designer creates visually appealing and functional rooms for clients. They identify client objectives, sketch design plans, acquire materials for the room and determine the overall cost for their design.

6. Web developer

National average salary: $56,514 per year

Primary duties: A web developer designs websites for clients with visually appealing layouts. They troubleshoot website problems, maintain and update websites, test applications and collaborate with other design professionals.

7. Physiotherapist

National average salary: $64,544 per year

Primary duties: A physiotherapist uses physical therapy to help patients regain mobility after an injury. Common job duties include evaluating patients, creating a treatment plan, demonstrating exercises and documenting patient progress.

8. Data analyst

National average salary: $69,670 per year

Primary duties: A data analyst collects and interprets information for a company to study online consumer behaviour. They provide reports, interpret trends in datasets and develop new data collection processes.

9. Marcom manager

National average salary: $78,256 per year

Primary duties: A Marcom, or marketing communications, manager helps businesses develop marketing strategies to attract more customers. Job responsibilities include conducting market research, creating communications programs and refining old products.

10. Project manager

National average salary: $88,213 per year

Primary duties: A project manager plans and executes projects to meet a set budget and timeline. They manage relationships with stakeholders, create a risk mitigation plan, plan resources and supervise project progress.


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